Aramaic New Testament

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Aramaic primacy)
Jump to: navigation, search

The Aramaic New Testament exists in two forms, the classical Aramaic, or Syriac, New Testament, part of the Peshitta Bible,[1] and the "Assyrian Modern" New Testament and Psalms published by the Bible Society in Lebanon (1997) and newly translated from Greek. The official Assyrian Church of the East (known by some as the Nestorian Church) does not recognise the new "Assyrian Modern" edition, and traditionally considers the New Testament of the Peshitta to be the original New Testament, and Aramaic to be its original language. This view was popularised in the West by the Assyrian Church of the East scholar George Lamsa, but is not supported by the majority of scholars, either of the Peshitta or the Greek New Testament.

The traditional New Testament of the Peshitta has 22 books, lacking 2 John, 3 John, 2 Peter, Jude and Revelation, which are books of the Antilegomena. The text of Gospels also lacks the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53–8:11) and Luke 22:17–18.[2] These missing books were supplemented by the Syriacist John Gwynn in 1893 and 1897 from alternative manuscripts, and included them in the United Bible Societies edition of 1905. The 1997 modern Aramaic New Testament has all 27 books.

Aramaic original New Testament hypothesis[edit]

The hypothesis of an Aramaic original for the New Testament holds that the original text of the New Testament was not written in Greek, as held by the majority of scholars, but in the Aramaic language, which was the primary language of Jesus and his Twelve Apostles.

The position of the Assyrian Church of the East, per Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII in 1957, is that the Syriac Peshitta (which is written in a cursive form of Aramaic), used in that church, is the original of the New Testament. Variants of this view are held by some individuals who may argue for a lost Aramaic text preceding the Peshitta as the basis for the New Testament.

This view is to be distinguished from higher criticism and text-critical transmission theories such as the Hebrew Gospel hypothesis of Lessing and others. The Hebrew Gospel or Proto-Gospel hypothesis includes either Aramaic or Hebrew source texts for Matthew and possibly Mark.[citation needed]

Church of the East doctrine concerning the Peshitta[edit]

This is a traditional belief held in the Church of the East that the Peshitta text, which most scholars consider a translation from Greek, is in fact the original source of the Greek:

"With reference to... the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision." Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII, by Grace, Catholicos Patriarch of the East. April 5, 1957

The most noteworthy advocate of this view in the west was George Lamsa (1976) of the Aramaic Bible Center. However this view is rejected by the majority of scholars:

"The only complete English translation of the Peshitta is by G. Lamsa. This is unfortunately not always very accurate, and his claims that the Peshitta Gospels represent the Aramaic original underlying the Greek Gospels are entirely without foundation; such views, which are not infrequently found in more popular literature, are rejected by all serious scholars. Brock, Sebastian P (2006), The Bible in the Syriac tradition, p. 58 

The current Patriarch of the Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV (1976–present), has not publicly pronounced that the Peshitta is the original New Testament.

Other "Peshitta original" advocates[edit]

A tiny minority of scholars are backers of the "Peshitta original" theory today, including website owners Andrew Gabriel Roth (compiler of the "AENT") and the Assyrian Paul Younan, among others.[3]

"Aramaic primacy"[edit]

Some advocates of the "Peshitta original" view, or the view that the Christian New Testament and/or its sources were originally written in the Aramaic language, also use the term "Aramaic primacy" though this is not used in academic sources, and appears to be a recent neologism.

The words do earlier appear together in print in the sentence "according Aramaic primacy among the languages," in Lee I. Levine, Judaism and Hellenism in antiquity: conflict or confluence 1998[4] but only as a general expression used to note the primacy of Aramaic over other languages in specific context, and also describing "Aramaic's predominance"[5] over Hebrew and Greek in Second Temple Jerusalem. Levine could equally have written "according primacy to Aramaic."

This article titled "Aramaic primacy" appeared on Wikipedia in August 2004,[6] with the first line "Aramaic Primacists believe that the Christian New Testament was originally written in Aramaic, not Greek as generally claimed by Churches of the West". The term then appeared in print in 2008.[citation needed]

Likewise advocates of the primacy of an Aramaic New Testament have coined a new meaning for the phrase "Greek primacy" (earliest confirmed reference 2007[7]) to describe the consensus scholarly view that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. These terms are not used by text-critical scholarship, since in its view the evidence is overwhelming that the New Testament was written originally in Greek.[8][9]

Brief history[edit]

George Lamsa's translation of the Peshitta New Testament from Syriac into English brought the claims for primacy of the Aramaic New Testament to the West. However, his translation is poorly regarded by most scholars in the field.[10] The Old Syriac Texts, the Sinai palimpsest and the Curetonian Gospels, have also influenced scholars concerning original Aramaic passages. Diatessaronic texts such as the Liege Dutch Harmony, the Pepysian Gospel Harmony, Codex Fuldensis, The Persian Harmony, The Arabic Diatessaron, and the Commentary on the Diatessaron by Ephrem the Syrian have provided recent insights into Aramaic origins. The Coptic Gospel of Thomas and the various versions of the medieval Hebrew Gospel of Matthew also have provided clues to Aramaic foundations in the New Testament especially the gospels.[citation needed] Many 19th Century scholars (H. Holtzmann, Wendt, Jülicher, Wernle, von Soden, Wellhausen, Harnack, B. Weiss, Nicolardot, W. Allen, Montefiore, Plummer, and Stanton)[11][not in citation given] theorized that portions of the gospels, especially Matthew, were derived from an Aramaic source normally referred to as Q.[dubious ][citation needed]

Methods of argument[edit]

Aramaic Primacists believe that New Testament is written in Aramaic, because of the below reasons.

Hebrew Historian Josephus points out that his nation did not encourage the learning of Greek. Because of this, a Hebrew knowing Greek was extremely rare in first century.

Josephus - "I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the elements of the Greek language, although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness; for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations, and so adorn their discourses with the smoothness of their periods; because they look upon this sort of accomplishment as common, not only to all sorts of free-men, but to as many of the servants as please to learn them. But they give him the testimony of being a wise man who is fully acquainted with our laws, and is able to interpret their meaning; on which account, as there have been many who have done their endeavors with great patience to obtain this learning, there have yet hardly been so many as two or three that have succeeded therein, who were immediately well rewarded for their pains." [12]

In the beginning of Josephus' Antiquities of Jews, Josephus again points out that Greek was an unaccustomed language to Hebrews in first century AD.

Antiquities of Jews Book 1, Preface, Paragraph 2 - "Now I have undertaken the present work, as thinking it will appear to all the Greeks worthy of their study; for it will contain all our antiquities, and the constitution of our government, as interpreted out of the Hebrew Scriptures. And indeed I did formerly intend, when I wrote of the war, to explain who the Jews originally were, - what fortunes they had been subject to, - and by what legislature they had been instructed in piety, and the exercise of other virtues, - what wars also they had made in remote ages, till they were unwillingly engaged in this last with the Romans: but because this work would take up a great compass, I separated it into a set treatise by itself, with a beginning of its own, and its own conclusion; but in process of time, as usually happens to such as undertake great things, I grew weary and went on slowly, it being a large subject, and a difficult thing to translate our history into a foreign, and to us unaccustomed language.[13]"

Unlike Greek NT, Aramaic NT (Aramaic Peshitta) supports Josephus who testifies (above) that Greek wasn't spoken among Hebrews in first century Israel and also the extreme rarity in terms of a Hebrew knowing Greek.

Greek NT and the translations of Greek NT say that there are Greeks who communicated with Jesus Christ and Apostle Paul which contradict the testimony of Josephus. But Aramaic NT supports the testimony of Josephus by saying that they were either Aramaean(s) or Pagan(s). Below are some examples.

1. Mark 7:26 (NIV Translation) - "The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter."

Mark 7:26 (Aramaic NT) [14] - "But she was a pagan woman from Phoenicia of Syria, and she was begging him to cast out the demon from her daughter."

2. John 7:35 (NIV) - "The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks."

John 7:35 (Aramaic NT) [15] - "The Judeans were saying among themselves, "Where is This Man prepared to go that we cannot be? Is He prepared to go teach the pagans?"".

3. Acts 16:1 (NIV) - "Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek."

Acts 16:1 (Aramaic NT) [16] - "And he arrived at the city Derby and at Lystra, but a disciple was there whose name was Timotheus, son of a certain Jewess believer, and his father was an Aramaean."

4. Romans 1:16 (KJV) - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

Romans 1:16 (Aramaic NT) [17] - "For I am not ashamed of The Gospel, because it is the power of God for the life of all who believe in it, whether of The Judeans first, or of the Aramaeans."

5. Acts 20:21 (NIV) - "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus."

Acts 20:21 (Aramaic NT) [18] - "While I was testifying to the Jews and to the Aramaeans about returning to God and the faith in Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah."

6. 1 Corinthians 1:24(NIV) - "but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

1 Corinthians 1:24 (Aramaic NT) [19] - "But to those who are called, Jews and Aramaeans, The Messiah is the power of God and the wisdom of God."

7. Galatians 2:3 (KJV) - "But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:"

Galatians 2:3 (Aramaic NT) [20] - "Even Titus, an Aramaean who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised."

8. Acts 19:17 (KJV) - "And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified."

Acts 19:17 (Aramaic NT) [21] - "And this became known to all the Jews and Aramaeans dwelling in Ephesaus and great fear fell upon all of them, and the name of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah was exalted."

Aramaic phenomena[edit]

There are many phenomena that advocates of an Aramaic original for the New Testament consider to be evidence for their case. For example, some of them include:

Perceived logical improbabilities in Greek[edit]

One passage that it is argued contains a logical improbability in Greek is Matthew 4:8. There isn't a mountain high enough to view "all of the kingdoms of the earth" since the earth is round. The Hebrew word found in Ibn Shaprut's medieval translation of the Greek Gospel of Matthew in the appendix to The Touchstone (c.1380) uses "eretz"[22] which can be translated as earth or land.[23] By substituting the Hebrew word "eretz" into the passage makes it possible that "all the kingdoms of the land of Israel" were viewed from a high mountain such as Mount Tabor in Israel. However the same is true for Greek ge which can mean land or earth depending on context. Also since "all the kingdoms of the land of Israel" is seen as an unlikely meaning most commentators on Matthew have seen "all the kingdoms of the land of earth" as being either hyperbole or a vision.[24]

Another proposed example concerns Matthew 24:51 and Luke 12:46. Agnes Smith Lewis (1910) noted that the verb used in all of the Syriac versions "palleg" has the primary meaning of "cut in pieces" and the secondary one of "appoint to some one his portion." The primary sense leads to the possible problem of how someone cut to pieces could then be assigned to something else. But, Smith argues, if we take the secondary meaning then we are may suggest that the Greek translator misunderstood a Syriac idiom by taking it too literally. The translation would be "and shall allot his portion and shall place him with the unfaithful" instead of the Greek "shall cut him in pieces and shall place him with the unfaithful."[25] Hugh J. Schonfield (1927) notes that the Hebrew verb "bahkag" means literally to "break forth, cleave asunder" and concludes that the Greek translator has failed to grasp the sense in which the Hebrew word is here used.[26]

Another proposed example involves the genealogy in Matthew. Schonfield (1927) argues that the text of Matthew indicates three genealogical groups of 14 each. However, the Greek texts of Matthew have two groups of 14 and a final group of 13. The Syriac Curetonian and Syriac Sinaitic add the following to Matthew 1:13, "Abiud begat Abiur, Abiur begat Eliakim. Dutillet's Hebrew version of Matthew adds Abihud begat Abner; Abner begat Eliakim.[27] In both Syriac and Hebrew the spellings between Abiud and Abiur are so close that during translation into Greek the second name could have been dropped mistakenly. In any case, all Greek texts contain only 13 names while possibly indicating 14 should be in the final portion of the list. The two Syriac texts and one Hebrew text have 14 names and indicate 14 should be in the final portion of the list.


Some[who?] treat "split words" as a distinctive subsection of mistranslations.[citation needed] Sometimes it appears that a word in Aramaic with two (or more) distinct and different meanings appears to have been interpreted in the wrong sense, or even translated both ways in different documents.[original research?] Perhaps the most well known example that advocates of an Aramaic urtext for the Gospels cite is the parable of the "camel (καμηλος) through the eye of a needle." (Mark 10:25, Matthew 19:24, Luke 18:25) In Aramaic, the word for "camel" (גמלא) is spelled identically to the word for "rope" (גמלא),[citation needed] suggesting that the correct phrase was "rope through the eye of a needle," making the hyperbole more symmetrical. The Aramaic word can also be translated as "beam",[citation needed] making a connection between this passage and the passage on removing a beam from your eye—Matthew 7:5; Luke 6:41–42.


Aramaic is one of the Semitic languages, a family where many words come from three-letter roots. As a result, speakers of the language employ puns that play on roots with similar sounding consonants, or with the same consonants re-arranged. In applying this principle, scholars[who?] have studied the dialogues of the New Testament and in some cases claim that how a choice of words that apparently seem completely unrelated or awkward in Greek may originate from an original Aramaic source that employed puns, or vice-versa. Agnes Smith Lewis[28] discusses how the Aramaic words for "slave" and "sin" are similar. "He who sins is a slave to sin" John 8:34. She uses this to point out Jesus used puns in Aramaic that were lost in the translations.

For example, in the True Children of Abraham debate within the Gospel of John, some[who?] consider the conversation took place in Aramaic, note possible examples of punning between the words "father" (אבא, abba), "Abraham" (אברהם, abraham) and the verb "to do" (עבד, `abad):

John 8
They retorted and said to him:
"Our abba (father) is Abraham!"
Jesus says to them:
"If you are Abraham's children, `abad (do) as Abraham would `abad (do)!"[29]

An alternate possibility is that the above conversation was actually conducted in Aramaic, but translated into Greek by the gospel writer. Portions of the oral sayings in Matthew contain vocabulary that may indicate Hebrew or Aramaic linguistic techniques involving puns, alliterations, and word connections. Hebrew/Aramaic vocabulary choices possibly underlie the text in Matthew 1:21, 3:9, 4:12, 4:21–23, 5:9–10, 5:23, 5:47–48, 7:6, 8:28–31, 9:8, 10:35–39, 11:6, 11:8–10, 11:17, 11:29, 12:13–15, 12:39, 14:32, 14:35–36, 15:34–37, 16:18, 17:05, 18:9, 18:16, 18:23–35, 19:9–13, 19:24, 21:19, 21:37–46, 21:42, 23:25–29, 24:32, 26:28–36, 26:52.[30][31][32]

Absence or presence of Aramaic quotations and translations[edit]

In the Greek New Testament, a number of verses include Aramaic phrases or words which are then translated into Greek. In the Peshitta, sometimes the word or phrase is quoted twice in Aramaic, indicating that the words needed to be translated from one Aramaic dialect to another.

For example, Matthew 27.46 reads:

Peshitta — And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said: "Ēl, Ēl, why have you forsaken me?"[33]

Greek — And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: "Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"[34]

However, the parallel verse in Mark 15:34 reads in both in the quotation/translation form it has in the Greek:

Peshitta — And in the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice and said: "Ēl, Ēl lmānā shvaqtāni" that is "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"[35]

Greek — And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying: "Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani?" Which is, being interpreted, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"[36]

The evidence of these verses, some claim, tend to support the claims of St. Papias and Irenaeus that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic presumably for Aramaic speakers in Syria-Palestine, while the Gospel of Mark was written for the Greek speaking Christians of Rome, who would not have known Aramaic fluently; but, who might have become familiar with certain phrases from the preaching of the Apostles or the liturgy. This is in similar fashion to how the words "Alleluia", "Amen", "Abba", "Hosanna" and "Sabaoth" are still in common usage in the western liturgy.

On the other hand, while Mark 3:17 ("Boanerges") and Mark 15:22 ("Golgatha") is repeated and also slightly changed in the double quotation in the Peshitta, the verses Mark 5:41 ("Talitha koumi"), Mark 7.34 ("Ephphatha") do not include any doubling.

Although the aforementioned is a discussion concerning the inclusion of quotation marks, it should be added that the Lamsa translated Peshitta for Matthew 27:46 reads: "And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, Eli, Eli, lamana shabakthani! which means, My God, My God, for this I was spared (or this was my destiny)."

Internal disagreements[edit]

Advocates of an Aramaic original New Testament are divided into several distinct camps in terms of their methods of researching and reconstructing the Aramaic layer of the New Testament.

Advocates of the primacy of the Peshitta[edit]

According to mainstream textual scholars, the Peshitta New Testament is translated from The Greek New Testament.[37] However, some writers believe that the Aramaic Peshitta is the closest text to the original New Testament. Among those who side with this view were William Norton of North Devon (1880),[citation needed] the late Assyrian author George Lamsa, and the owners of several websites: Paul Younan (, Andrew Gabriel Roth (Aramaic NT Truth), David Bauscher ( and Raphael Lataster (Aramaic Peshitta Bible Repository). In modern day, this movement is primarily based on the internet, although some historical advocates of the priority of the Peshitta include several Aramaic-speaking churches.

For example, Mar Eshai Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East was quoted:

With reference to....the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision.[38]

Peshitta-critical approach[edit]

Peshitta-critical advocates of an alternative Aramaic original take both the Peshitta and the Syriac manuscripts and critically compare them, similar to how some scholars who hold the majority view that the language of the New Testament is Greek take a critical approach to determining which Greek text better represents the original. Notables who side with this view are James Trimm (S.A.N.J.), and Joe Viel. This movement is also primarily based on the internet.

Aramaic source criticism[edit]

Source-critical advocates of an Aramaic original research first-century Aramaic, culture, and psychology to reconstruct the New Testament sources in dialects contemporary to its authors. Prominent figures that side with this view are Matthew Black, Bruce Chilton, Maurice Casey, Geza Vermes, Frank Zimmermann, and Steven Caruso (

Majority view[edit]

Mainstream and modern scholars have generally had a strong agreement that the New Testament was written in Greek and that an Aramaic source text was used for portions of the New Testament, especially the gospels. They acknowledge that many individual sayings of Jesus as found in the Gospels are translations from an Aramaic source[dubious ][citation needed] normally referred to as Q, but hold that the Gospels' text in its current form was composed in Greek, and so were the other New Testament writings. Scholars of all stripes have had to acknowledge the presence of scattered, Aramaic expressions, transliterated and then translated.

An example of how mainstream scholars have dealt with Aramaic influences within an overall view of the Gospels' original Greek-language development may be found in Martin Hengel's recent synthesis of studies of the linguistic situation in Palestine during the time of Jesus and the Gospels:

Since non-literary, simple Greek knowledge or competency in multiple languages was relatively widespread in Jewish Palestine including Galilee, and a Greek-speaking community had already developed in Jerusalem shortly after Easter, one can assume that this linguistic transformation [from "the Aramaic native language of Jesus" to "the Greek Gospels"] began very early. ... [M]issionaries, above all 'Hellenists' driven out of Jerusalem, soon preached their message in the Greek language. We find them in Damascus as early as AD 32 or 33. A certain percentage of Jesus' earliest followers were presumably bilingual and could therefore report, at least in simple Greek, what had been heard and seen. This probably applies to Cephas/Peter, Andrew, Philip or John. Mark, too, who was better educated in Jerusalem than the Galilean fishermen, belonged to this milieu. The great number of phonetically correct Aramaisms and his knowledge of the conditions in Jewish Palestine compel us to assume a Palestinian Jewish-Christian author. Also, the author's Aramaic native language is still discernible in the Marcan style.[39]

Response to Papias[edit]

Papias provides a very early source for the idea that the canonical Gospels were either based on some non-Greek written sources, or (in the case of Matthew) possibly "composed" in a non-Greek language. The relevant fragments of Papias' lost work An Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord (Logiōn kuriakōn exēgēsis, c. 110–140) are preserved in quotations by Eusebius. In one fragment, Papias cites an older source who says, "When Mark was the interpreter [hermēneutēs, possibly "translator"] of Peter, he wrote down accurately everything that he recalled of the Lord's words and deeds." Papias' surviving comment about Matthew is more tantalizing, but equally cryptic: "And so Matthew composed [or collected] the sayings [or record] in the Hebrew tongue, and each one interpreted [hērmēneusen, possibly "translated"] them to the best of his ability."[40] A similar claim comes out more clearly in a text by Irenaeus, but this testimony is later than (and probably based on) Papias.

Even if they do imply non-Greek originals, these accounts have been doubted, in part with an argument that the literary quality of the Greek of these books indicates that the Greek would be the original. This argument extends to the other books where the Church Fathers accepted Greek as the original without debate. The Greek New Testament's general agreement with the Septuagint is also counted as evidence by majority view scholars. Aramaic primacists point to quotations from the Hebrew (Masoretic) Old Testament in the Alexandrian text type that indicate at one point a non-Greek speaking audience was addressed (See Matthew 2:15, 2:18, 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27; John 19:37; Acts 13:18; Romans 9:33, 11:35; 1 Corinthians 3:19; 1Peter 2:8).[41] Aramaic primacists question why the New Testament would quote from the Hebrew Old Testament and not from the Septuagint if it was written in Greek originally. Quotes from the Hebrew Old Testament are present in Alexandrian texts that are thought to predate Jerome's use of the Hebrew Old Testament for the Vulgate.

Response to specific verses[edit]

There are also alternative explanations for the cases where Aramaic Primacists claim that the Aramaic seems to read better. One example (as stated above) is in the case of the "camel through the eye of a needle." In Jewish and Christian literature we see the following:

"...who can make an elephant pass through the eye of a needle."
- Babylonian Talmud, Baba Mezi'a, 38b
"They do not show a man a palm tree of gold, nor an elephant going through the eye of a needle."
- Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth, 55b
"13 There was a rich man named Onesiphorus who said: If I believe, shall I be able to do wonders? Andrew said: Yes, if you forsake your wife and all your possessions. He was angry and put his garment about Andrew's neck and began to beat him, saying: You are a wizard, why should I do so? 14 Peter saw it and told him to leave off. He said: I see you are wiser than he. What do you say? Peter said: I tell you this: it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
- Apocryphal Acts of Peter and Andrew.

Aramaic Primacists[who?] generally respond that these sources are late compared to the account in Q, as the Mishnah, the base document of the Babylonian Talmud was compiled in 200, where the Acts of Peter and Andrew is a 3rd-century work and therefore the original mistranslation of גמלא (gamlâ) predates and is potentially the source of these subsequent paraphrases. The Aramaic word for camel can also mean "beam" thus implying that the saying "it easier for a beam to go through an "eye'" is referencing Matthew 7:5; Luke 6:41–42 concerning taking the log (beam) out of your eye.

Multiple versions[edit]

Josephus' The Jewish War was originally written in Aramaic and later translated into Greek. Furthermore, the possibility that the Jewish community was more polyglot is often overlooked by both Aramaic-supporting and Koine-supporting scholars. It is possible that Aramaic and Koine (and even Latin) versions of the books and oral teachings of the New Testament were circulating contemporaneously, similar to the situation in present day Orthodox Jewish communities, where popular, newly written, religious works in Rabbinical Hebrew are promptly translated into English and Yiddish.[original research?]


  1. ^ 1905–1920 Edition of the Syriac New Testament published by the British and Foreign Bible Society
  2. ^ The text of the New Testament: an introduction to the critical ... Page 194 Kurt Aland, Barbara Aland – 1995 "It contains twenty-two New Testament books, lacking the shorter Catholic letters (2–3 John, 2 Peter, Jude) and Revelation (as well as the Pericope Adulterae [John 7:53–8:11[ and Luke 22:17–18)."
  3. ^ Michael L. Brown 60 Questions Christians Ask About Jewish Beliefs and Practices – 2011 "Backers of the “Peshitta original” theory today are Andrew Gabriel Roth and Paul Younan, among others.[200] These views, however, represent a tiny minority of scholars, since the Peshitta is almost universally recognized as a .."
  4. ^ Levine p82 "Three types of evidence should be considered decisive in according Aramaic primacy among the languages used in the city. The first is the use of Aramaic translations of the Scriptures in this period — in synagogue settings "
  5. ^ "A second indication of Aramaic's predominance in the city at this time can be found in the literary works written in this language. The last part of Daniel was composed in Aramaic circa 165 BCE and thus serves as a case in point had already appeared in print"
  6. ^
  7. ^ May have occurred on web/Wikipedia earlier but earliest print reference found is Rev David Bauscher The Original Aramaic Gospels in Plain English p59 2007
  8. ^ Metzger B. The Text of the New Testament. Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. Fourth Edition. Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D. Ehrman
  9. ^ Aland, K. and Aland, B. The text of the New Testament (9780802840981)
  10. ^ Review of Lamsa's translation by Herbert G May, Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. 26, No. 4, Oct., 1958 (JSTOR)
    Review of Lamsa's translation by PAH de Boer, Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 8, Fasc. 2, Apr., 1958 (JSTOR)
  11. ^ Jacquier, Jacque Eugène. "Gospel of St. Matthew." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911.
  12. ^ Josephus' Antiquities of Jews XX, XI
  13. ^ Josephus' Antiquities of Jews Book 1, Preface, Paragraph 2
  14. ^ Book "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English", Page. 68
  15. ^ Book "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English", Page. 153
  16. ^ Book "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English", Page. 199
  17. ^ Book "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English", Page. 218
  18. ^ Book "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English", Page. 206
  19. ^ Book "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English", Page. 238
  20. ^ Book "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English", Page. 269
  21. ^ Book "The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English", Page. 204
  22. ^ Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, George Howard, 1995, p.12
  23. ^ Clontz, T.E. and J., "The Comprehensive New Testament with complete textual variant mapping and references for the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, Nag Hammadi Library, Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha, Plato, Egyptian Book of the Dead, Talmud, Old Testament, Patristic Writings, Dhammapada, Tacitus, Epic of Gilgamesh", Cornerstone Publications, 2008, p. 444,ISBN 978-0-9778737-1-5
  24. ^ John Nolland The Gospel Of Matthew: A Commentary On The Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary) (9780802823892)
  25. ^ The Old Syriac Gospels or Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe, P. XXVI, Agnes Smith Lewis, 1910
  26. ^ An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Hugh Schonfield, 1927, p. 162
  27. ^ An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Hugh Schonfield, 1927 p. 21-22
  28. ^ Lewis, A.S. (1894; 2005) "Introduction" in "The Four Gospels in Syriac Transcribed from the Sinaitic Palimpsest , ed. R Bensly, J. R. Harris, & F C. Burkitt (Cambridge: University Press) reprint by Gorgias Press 2005
  29. ^ The Aramaic Behind the True Children of Abraham Debate
  30. ^ Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, George Howard, 1995, p. 184-190
  31. ^ Clontz, T.E. and J., "The Comprehensive New Testament with complete textual variant mapping and references for the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, Nag Hammadi Library, Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha, Plato, Egyptian Book of the Dead, Talmud, Old Testament, Patristic Writings, Dhammapada, Tacitus, Epic of Gilgamesh", Cornerstone Publications, 2008, p. 439-498, ISBN 978-0-9778737-1-5
  32. ^ An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Hugh Schonfield, 1927, p.160
  33. ^ ܘܐܠܦܝ̈ ܬܫܥ ܫܥܝ̈ܢ: ܩܥܐ ܝܫܘܥ ܒܩܠܐ ܪܡܐ ܘܐܡܪ, ܐܝܠ ܐܝܠ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ
  34. ^ Douay-Rheims Bible, Gospel According to Saint Matthew Chapter 27
  35. ^ ܘܒܬܫܥ ܫܥܝ̈ܢ: ܩܥܐ ܝܫܘܥ ܒܩܠܐ ܪܡܐ ܘܐܡܪ, ܐܝܠ ܐܝܠ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ ܕܐܝܬܝܗ ܐܠܗܝ ܐܠܗܝ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ
  36. ^ Douay-Rheims Bible, Gospel According to Saint Mark Chapter 15
  37. ^ David Bauscher Divine Contact-Discovery of the Original New Testament 2007 115 "Generally, according to most textual scholars, the Peshitta is supposed to be translated from The Greek T circa AD 400. The alternative view is , of course , that The Greek texts are a translation, or translations of The Peshitta."
  38. ^ Peshitta Aramaic/English Interlinear New Testament
  39. ^ Martin Hengel. 2005. "Eye-witness memory and the writing of the Gospels: Form criticism, community tradition and the authority of the authors." In The Written Gospel, ed. by Markus Bockmuehl and Donald A. Hagner. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 89f.
  40. ^ Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica 3.39.15–16, as translated by Bart D. Ehrman, The Apostolic Fathers, Vol. II, Loeb Classical Library, 2003, p. 103. For the word translated "composed," Ehrman prints sunetaxato in his facing-page Greek text, rather than the variant reading found in some manuscripts, sunegrapsato. But, whereas sunegrapsato definitely means "composed," other scholars have taken the reading sunetaxato to mean "collected." The Catholic Encyclopedia offers a fuller discussion in the section of its article on the Gospel of St. Matthew entitled "Authenticity of the First Gospel," and in the article on Papias.
  41. ^ Clontz, pp. 2,3,15,52,109,189,222,268,271,280,381


  • Ben-Hayyim, Z. (1957-77), The Literary and Oral Tradition of Hebrew and Aramaic amongst the Samaritans, Jerusalem Academy of the Hebrew Language  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Black, M. (1967), An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts. 3rd Ed., Hendrickson Publishers 
  • Burney, C. F. (1922), The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel, Oxford at the Clarendon Press 
  • Casey, M. (1998), The Aramaic Sources of Marks' Gospel, Cambridge University Press 
  • Casey, M. (2002), An Aramaic Approach to Q, Cambridge University Press 
  • Fitzmyer, J. (1997), The Semitic Background of the New Testament, Eerdmans Publishing 
  • Lamsa, G. (1976), New Testament Origin, Aramaic Bible Center 
  • Torrey, C. (1941), Documents of the Primitive Church, Harper & Brothers 
  • Zimmermann, F. (1979), The Aramaic Origin of the Four Gospels, Ktav Publishing House 

External links[edit]

  • — collection of articles on Aramaic source criticism
  • — site contains the transcription of the Khaboris Codex
  • – research articles and twelve published books on the Peshitta Bible, including N.T. interlinear translation and plain English N.T. translation plus Peshitta interlinear Psalms, Proverbs & Ecclesiastes.